At the top of Melissa Prouty’s list of accomplishments are her expertise as a yoga instructor and being a breast cancer survivor.
She found a rewarding way to combine the two.
On Mondays, Prouty offers free yoga lessons at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine. Her students are mainly breast cancer survivors, like herself.
“It’s my way of giving back to the community,” said Prouty, 37, of Grapevine.
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Prouty’s ties to Grapevine are strong, having attended Canon Elementary School, Grapevine Middle School and Grapevine High School.
“I’m a hometown girl,” she said. “This is my home.”
But life took her away from Texas for many years, beginning with a stint in Los Angeles, where she tried her first yoga class. She found the concept of stillness and going within far too complicated and contrary to her hectic lifestyle and stressful sales career.
In 2006, she decided to quit her job and move to Africa. Yoga became an important part of her life, and she advanced from student to yoga teacher.
Prouty said she was drawn in by the spiritual and healing aspects of yoga. She experienced not only the physical benefits of her time on the mat practicing yoga, but more importantly, she felt her first glimmers of stillness in motion as she experienced calmness, an inner peace.
Prouty made her way back to Texas in 2011. It was there she found a dense spot on her right breast. A double mastectomy and implants followed.
All was good until a few years ago when she felt “something” on her right breast and called her doctor. A tumor the size of a pea was found and removed in a lumpectomy. This time, chemo and radiation were required.
As of December, “everything looks good,” she said.
Her years of experience in the medical world are a key factor when teaching at Baylor Grapevine.
“I think it helps,” the breast cancer survivor said. “I’m not a stranger to cancer. I’ve been bald and crying and vomiting and upset. I think it makes my teaching that much more poignant.”
Before class begins, Prouty gathers everyone together and they talk about what’s going on in their lives.
“It’s something they can share,” she said. “It’s like a support group. We even laugh.”
Prouty can alter her class to adapt to their experiences.
In general, the class is “gentler” than the ones she teacher professionally. An important part is “visualizing the healing energy in our bodies. It facilitates healing and restoration of the body and soul.”
Maureen Aschman, breast nurse navigator at Baylor Grapevine, takes the class to join in the camaraderie.
The brainchild behind the yoga class, Ashman’s occupation includes facilitating support groups “after finding out what people want.”
The class was created about a year ago. Then the first yoga instructor moved to another state and Prouty filled in the gap with nary a class missed.
“It was like it was meant to be,” the nurse said. “People are put in my life to help. It’s been amazing.”
Aschman said the classes are tailored to the individual’s needs.
“Even if you come and breathe, you’re doing something,” said Aschman, who has been with Baylor for 19 years, six as a breast nurse navigator. “It’s therapeutic.”
The classes may include reading an inspirational passage or a poem. It can be anything that “empowers people and gives them strength and hope,” she said.
Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367